ArtLit, Blog

Art Exhibit: Figura Filipina

February 25 – March 5. When you don’t have time to go to art exhibits, the art exhibits go to you.

Distinct art styles showcased by three figurative artists of the Philippines: MananQuil, Santiago and Miranda

I was surprised to find a small open exhibit in the activity area of Robinsons Galleria a few days ago. The paintings were focused on showcasing Filipino women in various contexts. Three artists were featured: Romi MananQuil, Nemi Miranda and August Santiago.

The thematic focus on Filipino women is very timely. We are celebrating International Women’s month, the passage of the extended maternity leave bill, and the progression of the Anti-Discrimination Bill. In the same breath, we are still fighting for equal and rational basic human rights. 

I wrote a short poetic reinterpretation on the struggles of Filipinos and women few days ago. 

“Figura Filipina”, an Art Exhibition for the benefit of the Art Association of Malabon

Many of the paintings were painted very recently (i.e. signed 2017). What’s great about the pieces of art is that they highlight the unique merits of each artist’s style. I also had a bit of time to review the exhibit itself.

I do regret not being able to properly label my photos with the title of the works. Miranda’s work in the first photo, for example, had a title that alluded to “The First Sin” or something similar. The title and other external elements like framing really do affect one’s interpretation of the work. Maybe you’ll catch this exhibit near you some time and you’ll be able to fully experience the art yourself.

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Blog, Essays

I want to be a doctor (sexism in medicine is not a myth).

I want to be a doctor. I’ve known this forever. In the back of my mind, I’ve always imagined it to be difficult, but not too difficult -just the reasonable amount of marathon studying, never-ending stress and running around as you might expect in any postgraduate course. But life has been telling me that it will never be that easy, even when I am a certified doctor already. That one of my advocacies of choice –feminism– will still permeate this part of my identity. If I do get in, pass and advance from medical school, I will never be just a doctor. I will never join the ranks of names which people can easily accept, appreciate, applaud and then recommend.

I will be a female doctor. I will be called and branded ‘doktora’ by Filipinos. I will be an entirely different beast of qualifications, intentions and capabilities, unnecessarily prefixed by my sex.  I will exist as a preferred option by female patients for more ‘delicate’ cases and unwanted by conservative males for the same reason. I will be judged by my dress, by the clearness of my face and the neatness of my hair, by the fit of my white jacket and the noise of my purse as I walk down a hospital corridor. Assuming I do become a doctor.

I have accepted this.

I’ve always known sexism existed in the field of medicine. This isn’t a post about why I want to become a doctor despite the struggles that come with it, or what could be done to counter the biased narratives that exist. This post only illustrates how sexism exists in my desired profession. Why we can’t ignore it.

I first heard about it in the context of skewed admission opportunities in prestigious medical schools in my country. But I brushed it aside at first –it was all hearsay. After all, how could something as backwards as sexism exist in places as esteemed as premiered learning institutions? How could established doctors and professionals and teachers, who have undergone years of training and education, be so removed from progressive society?

In hindsight I think I overestimated the transformative power of standardized education and underestimated the combined effects of media, culture and years of tradition on people’s codes of behavior. Because sexism in medicine is not a myth.  Continue reading “I want to be a doctor (sexism in medicine is not a myth).”

ArtLit, Blog, Essays

Tribute: Enheduanna

The Akkadian/Sumerian poet Enheduanna (2285-2250 BCE) is credited with creating the framework of poetry, psalms and prayers used throughout the ancient world –Enheduanna’s compositions were used as the template for the Babylonian prayers, the Hebrew Bible and the Homeric hymns of Greece.

Enheduanna is the world’s first author known by name, whose works were inscribed over 4000 years ago. She was also a woman.


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Some debate motions that I should be able to grasp, but still don’t. (Exhibit A in the ‘Jari is actually very slow on the uptake’.)

THBT women’s rights organisations should advocate the legalisation of multiple partner marriages.

I am a sad excuse for a feminist and over-all human being.

Life update I’ll stand up to (quote-unquote) exercise a bit, then I’ll study Humdades. *Shivers*

Blog, Essays

Essay: TH does not believe in religion

I had a nightmare earlier. I had a nightmare, and I woke up praying to the lord for strength. How odd, that for a person who professes no affiliation to a religion, I find myself coming back to the same rituals and the same prayers when I am reduced to my lowest. It must be the same for you, random Philippine atheist reader, or not relatable at all for you, random Christian devout.

We all come back to what we are taught. In the case of common decency and manners, this is definitely a good thing. The same with knowing how to swim, or bike or cook. We don’t forget skills that we’ve learned. Not so good for religion and life choices, though. In fact it’s positively harmful.

There is nothing inherently wrong or harmful about believing in a god or believing in some sort of cosmic order. There’s a necessity and reassurance that comes with that kind of belief. I accept how reaffirming being in a like-minded community would be, and how helpful an organization as a support system is. There’s the certainty of knowing you have a family greater than your own. But it is in organized religion –which is socially and legally institutionalized, such as in the Catholic Church— as it exists today that I find many problematic things not “cancelled out” by the benefits they bring. The harms of organized religion are (more than) three-fold, and they are systematic, subtle and ingrained in society.

Continue reading “Essay: TH does not believe in religion”

Blog, Essays

Essay: Filipina Feminista

An amazingly dry essay on what is and isn’t for the Filipino feminist. See the end for references and notes.

Filipina Feminista


The 2011 Gender Gap Report by The World Economic Forum presents something to be excited about: out of 135 countries tested, the Philippines ranks with the eighth smallest gender gap, covering education, economic participation and health. A feminist blogger, Maria Marien, similarly states “a feminist direction has crystallized because the Filipino women have finally come into a certain degree of consciousness”. Satisfied? You shouldn’t be. Feminist movements are losing traction and gaining less exposure, and the so-called small gender gap exalted by most conservatives as a defense in stalling feminist movements is notable only on paper. In reality, the same oppressive institutions are still plaguing susceptible women in the country as they did in the 20th century. The third wave or modern feminist, the Feminista, is contending against increased occurrences of rape, joblessness, domestic violence and maltreatment. And while battling those monsters, the whole country remains tuned to the passage of RH bill, which is only one of the many issues feminists and gender equalists have to push for. The neglect of pressing issues and the lack of mainstream movement for the protection of women, after all these years, is mostly ignored or even accepted by society; only select organizations move to protect the women from the insults of sexism. Misconceptions on the state of gender relations and on the role of women in the country continue to drive the widening gender gap and stereotyping in Philippine society. Continue reading “Essay: Filipina Feminista”


In Progress

I haven’t posted anything in a while, mostly because I don’t have anything complete to present to the world. My “In Progress” desktop folder is full of things I can’t seem to finish once I’ve started. I will finish them, though. I promise. Image

Continue reading “In Progress”